Ending Child Poverty – A Step Forward
Child Poverty is a serious issue not only in Cornwall, but in the whole country (and world). There are a lot of depressing figures on this subject which make unpleasant reading, especially as they relate to Cornwall. Solving poverty, not just for children is the Holy Grail for Governments, Local Authorities and other organisations connected to poverty. The Children’s, Schools and Families Scrutiny Committee (CSF) thought this was a subject that should be investigated and formed a Single Issue Panel (SIP).
This SIP (which I sat on) started by gathering a lot of information for various organisations like the CAB, Food Banks and those that cover domestic violence. All this information was sobering and highlighted the real problem in Cornwall. In all honesty we could have spent a year gathering more information, but SIP need to be time limited to have any real chance of having an impact.
We then gathered all this information into a report, which was then approved by the SIP who then sent it to the mother Committee of CSF. On Friday, this Committee fully endorsed the recommendations as laid out in the report. These recommendations will now be presented to full Council on the 5th July to give extra weight before they are sent to Cabinet. Normally SIP reports go straight to Cabinet, but the SIP and the CSF felt this needed to be endorsed by full Council due to the seriousness of this subject.
The recommendation is as follows:
This Council recognises that without a strategic direction that is consistently maintained, deprivation and child poverty will not be reduced or eradicated. It must therefore:1) appoint or identify and task a suitably qualified individual, to provide that strategic leadership working exclusively on this topic, leading and co-ordinating the work to deliver the Child Poverty Strategy for Cornwall from funding sources to be identified by Cabinet,2) identify suitably resourced organisations or bodies to work in partnership with the Cornwall Real Choices Board to tackle the issues highlighted in the report,3) Ask the organisations and bodies working in partnership with Cornwall Council to develop the Cornwall Child Poverty Strategy which addresses the issues highlighted in this report and provide quarterly reports to Cornwall council’s Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
We may never solve child poverty fully, but we should never shy away from tackling it. In the six months of working on this I am confident that we will make some inroads as long as the recommendations listed above are approved and properly resourced. If not, then we would have failed the children and people of Cornwall.